Sunday, March 18, 2007

Toast Floats

Via Protected Static - an interesting blog - Toast Floats. They home school their kids AND live on a boat - two adventures for the price of one?
But what they are really asking is some variation of “Don’t they have to go to school?” Actually, the answer to that question is “No. They don’t.” There is this persistent urban myth in the United States that our choices for educating our children are: Bad (e.g. Expensive Private Schools) or Worse (e.g. Lousy Public Schools). And for many, this is true. Economically, you may not be able to afford any other possibility, and you may have no ability to influence the quality of the public school choice available. (Though as an aside, I have an unfair share of public school principles in my immediate family who would argue that public schools are not as bad as most folks think.)

Having said all that, a bit of research and a willingness to completely overturn the natural order of things reveals that there is a third choice which is neither bad nor worse, though it may be insane. You can homeschool your children.

In fact, the homeschool movement is growing rapidly as parents increasingly choose to opt out of this system and take their children with them. It depends on whom you read whether this trend originated in the 1960’s with a bunch of granola-eating commune hippies or has been around much longer under the banner of Christian fundamentalism liberally dashed with a peculiarly American brand of libertarianism. In any case, homeschool families have gained a reputation for complete lunacy, their offspring shunned as the spawn of whackos raised in an atmosphere of insulated mono-ideology. Public school couldn’t possibly be worse than homeschoolers.

Of course it can. While Columbine and the like might be the exception, they prove the rule. Public schools are not precisely the bastion of moral rectitude, quality education, and the relentless pursuit of social norms that everyone supposes
But it's Toast's sense of humor tha makes it worth reading
The priority became clear. The girls received a crash course in how to use matches in combination with the propane stove. At every possible opportunity, we used them to open the valves, turn on the solenoid, and start the stove burners or oven. Matches matches matches! Tea candles are the ideal testing ground for good match manners. Scatter them around the salon and you not only learn how to avoid burning bitty fingers, but you also create a charming atmosphere for yourselves and all distant observers watching your boat bob at anchor lit up like an old fashioned Christmas tree.

Electricity follows the same pattern. Though, frankly, the real problem with electricity and children is not the high voltage lines running everywhere, the exposed plugs in every room, or the enormous batteries in the foot of their bed. The real problem is that they never turn out the damn lights. I’m far more concerned with teaching the little twits to conserve energy then I am about them electrocuting themselves.
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